Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Serious Oxymoron

Honor Killing.

Two small words with a very big meaning. Since I've been here in India, these words appear in the daily newspaper on a regular basis. When I first read it a couple times, I had a startled reaction. It was unfathomable to me that your own family members would go to the great length of killing you and being proud of it. Just to prove a point. This phenomenon happens in various parts of the Islamic world (no disrespect) due to several reasons but mostly pertaining to adultery, secret affairs and relationships, disagreements on family matters, etc. It was something that a lot of people turn away from because nothing can be done about it, and frankly most of us aren't around it enough to concern your every day emotions to it.
But moving to the biggest democracy in the world and seeing how often this event takes place has just dazzled me.
Most of the time, families will kill innocent couples on the basis of inter caste relationships. The word "caste" sounds so outdated to someone who lives or has lived in the Western world. However, in the lower income class in India, this very word leads to inhumane actions and murders of hundreds of lives every year.
The law upholds in such matters and the people who commit this horrendous crimes do get their share of brutal punishment, but that doesn't solve the true issue at hand. The issue that needs to be addressed is HOW to stop these events from actually happening. Torturing and brutally killing innocent people on the basis of culture is absolutely unacceptable.
I don't think that I have the solution to this problem, but I do have a big problem with the term itself. Why do the media and rest of the society call these ruthless murders honor killings? Does honor really reside in killing your very own family members just because they didn't agree to your simplistic view of the world? The term in itself provides solace to the people who commit them because they think they are doing it for honor. I thought honor is about respect and merit and credibility. Since when does killing someone and unjustly and cowardly taking a helpless' life become honorous?
People need to stop being accepting to such happenings, and giving these killings this oxymoronic term only adds to this acceptance. India is a free country and being free to love someone is a basic freedom endowed from something beyond society and culture. People who believe in such ridiculous ideas are nothing but selfish, hateful, vicious cowards who deserve the worst punishments law can offer.

Got It Maid?

So most Desis living abroad secretly envy local Indians. Even an average income middle class family can afford to hire a maid that will come do the daily house chores that take so much time and energy from one's day.
Especially with the growing trend where both the partners are working, who wants to divide up the daily to-dos after a hectic day at work? I know I don't.
Aside from making time for cleaning the house, to doing the dishes, to laundry, etc., these tasks just add stress to a household. Like there's not enough to do already! But it's not as easy at it sounds.
Being here for around three months now, it is interesting to see how much energy and stress is actually added because of having a maid. It is becoming harder to hire people that will come in a timely manner on a regular basis and do a good job up to your standard to do your house chores. Having been around so many "domesticated ladies" or housewives rather, it is commonly noted that most of their conversations and rants surround this very issue.
I think its rather ironic that they would hire someone, whine about the quality of service and attendance (or lack of), rant about how expensive they are, yet always somehow succumb to the pressure of having one.
I remember when I would jokingly tell my American friends about this concept and they would just raise their eyebrows and go "What? You guys hire someone to come do your dirty work? That's not fair!" Well, my friends it is becoming increasingly difficult every day to find someone dependable and trustworthy to do such work.
Maybe its time that we shift to the Western trend of being efficient at our own house work. It's not so bad after all. Besides, no one can clean your house better than you can (this statement might not be true for all of us!).
So if your parents have found a reliable person to come and do the every day chores that we all oh so dread, then you're lucky, but if you are part of the majority that are always asking for better service, then is it really a blessing if you got a maid?